Summary: Translator/teacher Ken McLeod provides spiritual practitioners with the essence of Buddhist practice. Ken is noted for his ability to present profound teachings and practices in clear straightforward language free from the myths and cultural overlays that make many Eastern teachings difficult to understand. These podcasts are a sampling of the 300+ recordings, some with transcripts, freely available at UnfetteredMind.org under Teachings. Our website also has dozens of original articles and translations of Buddhist texts.
Void dakini instructions; the usefulness of “zero”: void makes everything possible; terror; destructive aspect of spiritual practice, constant letting go; Tilopa’s instructions Transcript online at UnfettedMind.org
Putting it all together as ongoing practice; Blindness to significant patterns
Presence, purification, energy: 3 types of practice; Dakini practice as purification, transforming reaction chains into presence; Personal practice balances these elements; Two modes of completing practice: symbols and lights; Statements associated with elements, related to emotional patterns Transcript online at UnfetteredMind.org
Five Elements / Five Dakinis 9 (retreat)
Overview of different meditation practices: presence, energy transformation, purification; mind-training as a way to clear away self-cherishing; meditation instruction for resting with the breath; feeling the breath with the heart; variations in translation of the mind training text (available at unfetteredmind.org)
Education, training, and learning in Tibetan and Western cultures; brief biographies of Atisha and Chekawa Yeshe Drorje; secret teachings and transmissions; mind-training as a way to refine experience; refining v. training; empty compassion (emotion-free); illusion of choice as an indication of the lack of freedom; meditation instruction on groundwork
Clarity in intention; the world of shared experience, the world of personal experience and the myth of integration; What am I? What is life?; subject and object; Where does experience reside?; the dream analogy; What is awareness?; thoughts as experience; meditation instruction on awakening to what is ultimately true
Knowing whatever arises for what it is; the natural response of compassion; the three poisons and dualistic thinking; why taking and sending works; taking and sending & the four immeasurables; the three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue; meditation instruction for awakening to what is apparently true, taking and sending; questions from participants
Questions from participants on taking and sending, including: Is it okay to focus just on the meditation’s imagery of smoke and light rather than specific emotions? How specific should one be with taking and sending? How much do you sent out? How do you deal with running out of energy? Is taking and sending to be taken literally or figuratively? A variation of the taking and sending meditation from the previous session; applications of mind training, including: making adversity the path; driving blame into one; being grateful to everyone; emptiness as the ultimate protection; the four practices; working with whatever one encounters
Origins of lists and reasons for their use in contemporary life; summary of essential instructions: the five forces, instructions on dying; measures of proficiency: the one aim, rely on your own clarity, deep and quiet joy, practice as a natural response Proficiency isn’t attainment; regret v. guilt; working with emotions that arise from taking and sending
Function of Buddhist ethics; descriptive v. prescriptive; importance of ethics; benefits of memorization Commentary on mind training commitments including: the three basic principles, intention and behavior, giving up hope for results; not forming an identity around practice; working with reactive emotions; not hoping to profit from sorrow.
Difference between commitments and guidelines Commentary on guidelines, including: using one practice and one remedy; the two things to do, patience in everything; never compromise your practice; the three challenges, three key elements, three kinds of damage, three faculties; train on every object; practice what’s important now; don’t get things wrong (proper placement of priorities)
Questions from participants, a practical application of taking and sending, commentary on concluding verses, the 8 worldly concerns, living a life of no regret, a fable on taking and sending, instructions on working with the difficulties and challenges arising from practice, opening to whatever arises
Participants' comments and questions on compassion meditation including: joy, passion, excitement, and fun; what is meant by the line "May I experience the world celebrating my efforts"; sympathetic joy; is "the world celebrating my efforts" a form of external validation; how impermanence may appear to contradict cause and effect; how can I "enjoy the activities of life itself" when life becomes sticky; what does one do if you can see a situation clearly but may not have the capacity to act as the situation demands. Commentary on energy transformation passage from the reading assignment; what participants got from the class; where to go from here.
Participants' comments and questions on compassion meditation including: Should we say the verses used in these meditations aloud or to ourselves?; Does the line in the compassion meditation, 'May I experience the world wishing me freedom from pain', impose an unrealistic ideal upon the world?; difficulty in extending these verses to include others; the relationship between compassion, despair, and joy; What are you opening to when being compassionate towards others?; How does one find the balance between justice and compassion? Commentary on social and adult expressions of the four immeasurables and spiritual longings passage from the reading assignment; meditation instruction for joy.